Last summer I wrote about how to convince people that frequent flyer programs are worthwhile. They’re my passion of course, and I get stares and jealous comments from colleagues, people say they want to know ‘how to do what I do’ and yet most of the time they don’t follow through. It just seems so far outside their experience and comfort zone, they don’t make the leap.
And yet some people do, I did, many readers of this blog did, what made that difference?
That’s the very nut that Dave Code wants to crack in this Huffington Post piece.
He begins with the big value proposition of credit cards, making it sound simple to take your family overseas for free:
Parents, you may not realize you have a chance to dramatically increase your family’s quality of life. If I say you can take your family on trips to Europe or Asia, you might think, “Oh — we could NEVER afford that!” In fact, the banks will pay you hundreds of thousands of frequent flyer points for doing something you already do anyway — using a credit card.
Many parents use the same credit card out of habit. Initially, they may have enrolled with that card because it offered no annual fee, or cash back. But here’s the good news: at any given moment, the banks offer at least one card with a huge promotion that dwarfs the myriad of other offers.
But aren’t awards hard to get?
Some critics may say it’s a hassle to redeem frequent flyer points for flights, so collecting points just ends up being an exercise in frustration. For example, have you ever visited the airline’s award site seeking a super-saver award ticket, only to find that the dates you wanted were not available, or available only at double the points you expected to pay? Most parents make the mistake of giving up at this point, instead of taking just one more step to reach the Golden Gateway to Exotic Vacations. A simple Google search such as, “Redeeming award tickets on [blank] airlines” will take you to the sites of experts like View from the Wing and Million Mile Secrets, who can give you a straight-and-narrow path through the chaos of airline award availability.
I share the suggestion of using the British Airways and Qantas sites for checking award availability with American Airlines miles, that the United site is relatively good for searching Star Alliance awards (along with All Nippon and Aeroplan). I suggested airfrance.us for searching Skyteam awards but that didn’t make the piece.
For the folks entering our world, Code concludes:
Three of the blogs I most enjoy reading are Gary’s “View from the Wing,” Brian’s blog, “The Points Guy,” and Seth’s blog, The “Wandering Aramean”. Gary, Brian and Seth tip off their readers to new credit card offers, or their discovery of “mistake fares,” where the airlines goofed in, say, leaving a zero off a fare they post, such that a first-class fare from JFK to Tokyo ends up costing $1,000, instead of their intended $10,000.
To sum up: Many parents mistakenly believe they can’t afford to fly their families around the world. I invite you to take a leap of faith and apply for some of these credit cards with stellar point bonuses. Then, check in once-a-day with the bloggers I mentioned above, or join the Granddaddy of Points, Randy Petersen on MilePoint, a friendly forum for fellow point junkies. My prediction is that you’ll be amazed how quickly your family can be on a plane abroad, and you may even enjoy your new hobby in the World of Savvy World Travelers. All you need to begin is a willingness to dream big, and the persistence to try more than one airline site when redeeming your points.